Meeting Mr. Moviefone on Split Screen

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Apr 29, 2017

With his IFC TV series Split Screen, creator and host John Pierson gave viewers an all-access pass into the idiosyncratic world of independent cinema. Originally aired in 1997, the magazine-format program highlighted America’s most buzzed about young filmmakers and the communities throughout the country that supported them. Since December, the Criterion Channel has been the exclusive home for Split Screen, debuting six half-hour-long installments on the service every six weeks. Today, we’re going live with the jam-packed fourth season of the show, and among the highlights are a profile of legendary character actor Lawrence Tierney, a rare 1970 short protest film, a poolside conversation with David O. Russell, and an encounter with the real Mr. Moviefone. In the clip above, excerpted from the fifth episode of the season, Pierson introduces us to the man behind that bygone telephone service's infamous voice: cofounder Russ Leatherman.

Head over to the Criterion Channel to catch up on seasons one, two, and three of Split Screen as well, and to go a little deeper into the making of the show, read our conversation with Pierson.